Saturday, September 22, 2007


Alice Ghostley (1926-2007)

Alice Ghostley, who passed away Friday reportedly at the age of 81, had an impressive career that spanned stage, screen and television, but for most people, she's still probably best known as the absent-minded witch Esmeralda in the later years of Bewitched, brought in after the previous absent-minded witch Aunt Clara (Marion Lorne) had passed away. Younger viewers may also remember her for her Emmy-nominated work on Designing Women, but her career was truly much larger than those two shows. Her accolades include a Tony Award in 1965 for featured actress in a play for The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window by Lorraine Hansberry. Two years earlier, she received a nomination in the same category for The Beauty Part by S.J. Perelman.

Her work in movies wasn't quite as vast, but she did manage to land in some classic films including To Kill a Mockingbird, Grease and The Graduate, where ironically her only brief scene had her acting next to Marion Lorne.

Her extensive stage work included following Dorothy Loudon in the role of Miss Hannigan in the original Broadway production of Annie. Still, television was where you were most likely to see Ghostley.

In addition to her regular roles on Bewitched and Designing Women, she frequently popped up across a wide spectrum of series including The Odd Couple, Mayberry R.F.D., Love, American Style, Maude, Good Times, Evening Shade, ChiPs, Police Woman and, most recently, the soap opera Passions.

RIP Ms. Ghostley.

To read The New York Times obit, click here.

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Thansk for the obit-- I just posted about this on my blog, too, and I'm glad to see Ms. Ghostley getting some acknoweldgement-- she really was a comedic treasure.
As part of a review of other young performers (I think Eartha Kitt might have been one of them), Alice Ghostley appeared in New Faces of 1954 (I may have the year wrong?). Her song was "The Boston Beguine" and told the tragic story of a proper young woman whose wild night on the town was spoiled by her lack of sophistication as "the books we should have read were all supressed in Boston." She could be endearingly nutty.
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